A family vacation is so much more fun when the four-legged family members are included. Of course, several factors must be considered before booking a room for Fluffy or Fido. Here are five of the top tips for traveling with the furry members of the household.
If the vacation is a road trip, make sure the dog gets plenty of time in the car during the weeks leading up to the trip. This will help the dog get used to being on the road. Even if the dog usually loves going for car rides, the extended drive time could cause him to become restless or even get carsick. Taking him on long drives before the trip can help with this.
If a hotel stay is on the agenda, then call ahead to verify the hotel’s pet policy. Do not assume that whatever is listed on the hotel’s website is correct. Verify pet fees, the policy on leaving pets alone in the room and if there are size or breed restrictions. Ask the customer service representative from the hotel to email the information so that it will be in writing.
Pets Allowed vs. Pet Friendly
Many hotels allow pets, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are pet friendly. If including the pets is important, then find a hotel that really caters to pets. Look for a hotel with a large grassy area nearby for walks and romps and for one that offers extra services such as dog walking or luxurious pet beds for use during the stay.
Safety is always a concern when traveling with pets. Many people who lose their pets while away from home will never see them again. For this reason, do not bring a pet on vacation until having it microchipped. Having a pet microchipped is simple and inexpensive. A microchip will be the only hope of being reunited with a pet should he get lost while away from home.
To Fly or Not to Fly
Whether to bring a pet on a plane is a big question when making travel plans. While thousands of animals fly each year without incident, several are lost or die during the flight. For many owners, this is just too big a risk to take. In addition, flying can be very scary to many pets. They fly in the cargo section of the plane and, especially on a long flight, this can be quite traumatic.
The best option is to only fly if the pet can be in the cabin. Most airlines will allow this with many conditions. Call ahead to see if this is a possibility. If not, consider a road trip or leaving the pet at home instead.
In many cases it will be better to leave the pets behind. Not every vacation is suitable for pets, so only bring them if everyone – including the pets – will have a good time.